Fifty for Feroze helps Essex hold the upper hand

Brian Jeeves

Essex v Lancashire – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Day One – Report

Lancashire 146 (42.0 overs)

Essex 68 for one (12.0 overs)

Essex won the toss and elected to bowl

Wet weather conditions hampered LV= Insurance County Championship play across the country, with the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford being no exception.

But following a delayed start and a further rain interruption during the day, Essex’s Division One match with Lancashire provided plenty of talking points as the visitors were bowled in forty-two overs for 146.

Shane Snater led the way for the Essex attack, returning figures of four for 42, while Sam Cook had 3/18. An eighth-wicket partnership of 53 between Jack Blatherwick (18) and Will Williams (32*) briefly held up the hosts’ progress.

Essex’s Shane Snater returned bowling figures of four for 42 against Lancashire at Chelmsford (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

Responding, Essex had reached 68 for one by the close. Feroze Khushi hit 53 off 33 balls, a knock which included nine 4s. Dean Elgar (11*) and nightwatchman Sam Cook (2*), the men at the crease and leaving the home side to reflect on an otherwise positive first day.

Essex’s Feroze Khushi hit 53 off 33 balls (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

Speaking to Martin Smith of the ECB Reporters Network, Essex’s Right-arm Fast-medium bowler Snater, said: “The Dukes ball does seem to have a bit more carry and a bit more nip than last week’s. 

“There’s a bit more green grass on the wicket than last week. And the Dukes does bring in that factor that it does a bit more than the Kookaburra.

 “The wicket is still quite slow, but there is still nip there, not every ball, it’s not like a snakepit or anything like that. As Feroze [Khushi] showed us, there are runs to be scored out there.”

Snater continued: “I don’t know if Feroze going out to bat like that was a plan. I had my feet up so I don’t really know what goes on with the batters’ chat! I don’t think there was a plan per se, but it worked out well for him.

 “I felt in good rhythm coming into the season. As you say, I didn’t have the best season last year, but I went away and reassessed, so it’s nice to come back and hit the ground running. My form going into last season wasn’t quite right and I didn’t bowl the way I like to, and then towards the back end I got injured.

 “I think the boys and the whole changing room are in a great place at the moment and everyone is looking to do their best and we’re all enjoying ourselves. We’re in a really good place leading into the rest of the summer.”

Play resumes on Saturday at 11am.

Essex: D Elgar, FIN Khushi, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, JA Porter, NRM Thain, SJ Cook

Lancashire: KK Jennings (Capt), LWP Wells, JJ Bohannon, GP Balderson, TC Bruce, GJ Bell, MF Hurst (WK), TE Bailey, JM Blatherwick, WSA Williams, NM Lyon

Umpires: JD Middlebrook and AG Wharf

Scorers: P Parkinson and C Rimmer

Match Referee: J Whitaker

Elsewhere in LV= Insurance County Championship Division One, play eventually got underway in earnest at Canterbury, where Kent skipper, Daniel Bell-Drummond hit 70 as the hosts closed on 113 for three against champions, Surrey. Dan Worrall took two for 33 for the visitors.

In Division Two, the weather again played an unwelcome role as Middlesex hosted Yorkshire at Lord’s.

Nevertheless, the Middlesex attack made significant strides, with Ryan Higgins returning four for 31, and Toby Rowland-Jones 3/49 as Yorks were dismissed for 159.

The home side reached 84/2 despite another break for rain. Mark Stoneman was unbeaten on 38* at the close.

Brian Jeeves